Town of Richmond Hill awarded for strategic health approach

Promoting health and wellness as a business priority and effectively communicating this to the workforce was the Town of Richmond Hill’s recipe for success at Benefits Canada’s 2018 Workplace Benefits Awards.

The organization took home the award for best health and wellness program for a company with less than 1,000 employees at a ceremony in Toronto on Oct. 11.

The most important aspect of the program is looking at health and wellness from a strategic level, says Nancy Marchese, manager of employee health, safety and benefits at the Town of Richmond Hill. “Being consultative, ensuring that our program is aligned with our pharma statistics, employee feedback.” 

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Using data analysis to learn about the opportunities for wellness programming, the organization created an action plan that included health screening clinics, surveys, fitness classes, educational webinars, discounts on gym memberships and a wellness website. To help engagement and increase participation, it also created a wellness committee with representation from a number of departments.

Some departments created wellness programs to specifically suit their needs, such as a health challenge undertaken by the operations team and walking groups by other departments. This has increased morale, engagement, cohesiveness and a culture of health and well-being, according to the organization’s award entry.

The Town of Richmond Hill also credits its success to a collaborative approach that included human resources, employees, management, unions and third-party administrators.

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Leading to its win, the organization also demonstrated tangible results from its 2018 health challenge, where 69 per cent of participants increased their physical activity, 47 per cent drank more water, 46 per cent improved nutrition and 72 per cent cited high confidence for achieving their health goals.

It also saw excellent satisfaction rates among employees. Between 94 and 98 per cent said they were satisfied with the health screening program, while 99 per cent said they’d recommend future wellness initiatives to colleagues.

“I think Richmond Hill wants to be positioned as an employer of choice and we have the wellness interests of our staff at heart, so that it’s a place where people come to work but also have opportunities to enrich their own lives,” says Meeta Gandhi, director of communication services for the organization.